A new season is ahead of us and even though it’s always tricky to pick winners in season-opening matches, I’m willing to trust Betis in this one. The hosts are a well-established side in LaLiga and are on the rise in recent years. Moreover, they have played really well in pre-season matches, ending it with four consecutive victories – over Las Palmas, Frosinone, Cardiff, and Bournemouth.
William Carvalho brought from Sporting and Sidnei from Deportivo are new players, coming as substitutes for central midfielder Fabian Ruiz who went to Napoli and central back German Pezzella.
Levante did a decent job in the previous season to stay away from the relegation zone and will try to do the same again. Typical for them, it’s a side that relies the most on their home performance while on the road they never were fairly impressive.
After disappointing run for Basel where they lost home and away 1:5 in total we could see them play Europa League in which their performance wasn’t good at all. Although they played away from home still it was really slow pace football from them and it seemed like they didn’t play to their full potential, which might be a reason of them not really caring that much about Europa League but rather climbing Super League they had disappointing start with a loss and draw now they picked up 2 wins and are slowly climbing up.
On the other hand Vitesse has low chances to play Champions Cup as there are huge rivals in their league such as Ajax PSV and Feyenoord so Europa League should be a pretty big priority for them and they should be taking those matches seriously.
Football EFL Carabao Cup action tonight with Middlesbrough (Championship) hosting Notts County (League 2)
EFL is always tricky to tips hours before games because you never know what type of lineups you’ll get but here Middlesbrough have solid depth despite losing Adama and Gibson at the trade deadline. Middlesbrough , last few years , have been an excellent team at home , based on a solid defense. Now with Tony Pullis as coach , this should continue. Pullis is a defensive minded coach and his teams are hard to break down.
And for a Division 4 side in Notts County with 1 pts in 2 games , I don’t really see it happening. They are a below average League Two team.
Charleroi opened up the new season with quite disappointing 0:1 defeat in front of own fans against Antwerp two weeks back. However, the players bounced back with a much better performance last Saturday afternoon when they looked pretty impressive in a 1:4 victory away to Eupen.
Even though they were back in the scoreline due to an own goal in the tenth minute, the side managed to show their character later on. They leveled up the result in the same manner in the 24th minute, reverting the scoreline completely in the first halftime already. It was in the 33rd minute thanks to a goal from Rezaei. It was wide open first halftime where the players of Charleroi looked bit more concrete.
The second halftime has gone in a bad way for Eupen, as they stood playing with a man less early in the second part and couldn’t do much more. Finally, Perbet and Rezaei scored their goals in the last ten minutes of the clash to seal the victory.
Championship action again for me in a game that will be played at the Riverside Stadium and will kick off at 15:00 UK time. The game will be played between Middlesbrough and Birmingham City.
The home side head into this as clear favorites to take 3 points. the money they’ve spent this season has been a lot for a club in this league and their squad is very strong in my opinion and under Tony Pulis, they must have a chance of promotion to the Premier League. What stands out to me is their front line, they have Rudy Gestede who is proven at this level, Martin Braithwaite, Britt Assombalonga and they’ve also just loaded West Ham’s Jordan Hugill who was on fire in this league for PNE.
Their 3 games this season has seen them draw 1 and win 1. The draw came away at the Den vs Millwall, doesn’t sound like a good result, however, Boro were 2-0 down after 37 minutes and managed to snatch a point late on with an 87th-minute goal from Braithwaite and then a 97th-minute strike from defender George Friend! This clearly gave them a huge wake-up call and their performance midweek for me identifies that they are up for the challenge. They beat Sheffield United 3-0 at the Riverside. They went 3-0 up after just 25 minutes and then professionally saw the game out.
Swedish football taking place at Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, to guide us into the weekend full of Premier League football. However, for an early weekend match – IFK Goteborg will host IK Sirius in a very important match particularly for the hosts.
You might recognize IFK Goteborg from 1980 and 1990 era, a very successful period where the team was famous across the globe.
Nowadays, they are fighting to avoid relegation in Allsvenskan after going through a financial crisis and have changed their strategy to rely on cheap signings and talent development.
The strategy before this was to sign expensive proven players. What IFK Goteborg are trying to do is to cut costs and survive Allsvenskan so that they can have a stronger upcoming year. Despite some difficult results this season, they have a few interesting players offensively such as 22-year-old Giorgi Kharaishvili, 23-year-old Elias Mar Omarsson and Patrik Karlsson Lagemyr born in 1996. It is a very young core group.
Sturm Graz couldn’t do much better in the second qualifying round for the Champions League in last weeks when they faced up against Eredivisie runners-up from Ajax. It was already obvious in the first leg that the Dutch side is simply packed up with quality comparing to the Austrians. They have suffered 2:0 defeat in Amsterdam remaining with very low chances for the second leg.
That second leg match last Wednesday evening didn’t go much better as Sturm suffered yet another, this time 1:3 defeat.
As for the domestic league, the side has started with two 3:2 victories. In the first round, they overpowered Hartberg with that result in front of own fans, while the second round saw them winning away from home against Wacker Innsbruck last Saturday evening.
Kaiserslautern last season finished on last position in Bundesliga 2 and from this season will participate in 3rd division. That’s big tragedy for this club because they won Bundesliga four times and also they have two Cup trophies. I don’t expect from Kaiserslautern to be in this league for more seasons than 1 and I will be shocked if they don’t get promotion at the end of this 2018/19 season. In first two rounds they have victory (1:0 Munchen 1860) and draw (1:1 Sonnenhof Grossaspach). In first game against Munchen 1860 there were 41.000 fans on their Fritz-Walter stadium so I expect another game with large number of spectators today. They will be without midfielder Dylan Esmel (0/0, unimportant) but coach Frontzeck will have all other players available.
1st round match between Milos Raonic and David Goffin in Toronto, Canada.
Undoubtedly this is the main match from the 1st round and the reason this one to happen so early, was that Milos is unseeded in Rogers cup and Goffin was the one with the awful draw. Infact David is out of form. After his shocking first round exit in Wimbledon by Mattew Ebden in straight sets, he played in Washington and firstly he eliminated Herbert in three sets in a final tiebreak, it was really a very close match. Then he made his best match in months beating Tiafoe with easiness in straight sets, but Tsitsipas was the one, who eliminated him in the QFs(6:3 6:4).
On the other side Raonic hasn’t performed in an official match since Wimbledon, where he reached the QFs, where Isner eliminated him in four sets. Maybe Raonic realized he missed a golden chance for a final in Wimbledon, because the opponent in the SF was Kevin Anderson, typical player as Raonic. He also made brilliant tournament is Stuttgart, where he lost to Federer in the final. So, it’s obvious Raonic started to feel much more comfortable on the court, although he is still N30 in the ranking.
Genk looked extremely well in the season-opening game when they outplayed Lokeren with a 0:4 result away from home. Pozuelo brought them into the lead already in the third minute, while they didn’t wait long to double up the lead in the 16th minute via Malinovsky.
It was much easier for them to play since then, as Ndongala scored his first goal in the season in the 61st minute. Hosts played with a man less in last twenty minutes of the game, while the superiority of Genk was confirmed with a goal from Trossard in the 73rd minute. Overall, Lokeren had very little offensive phases and it was more than deserved victory for Genk that showed to be one of the most in-form sides at the moment in Jupiler league.
The side already showed a decent level of quality in the pre-season matches when they won over sides like Mouscron 5:2, Valenciennes 4:1, and Olympiakos 4:0. They also have played second round Europa League qualifiers matches against Fola, the first leg winning with a 5:0 result before starting the domestic league, so it sure did help them in some way. A bit rotated squad was seen last Wednesday afternoon when they outplayed Fola once again with a 1:4 victory.